Thursday, January 21, 2016

Rain and snow

We had fun with rain and snow activities - we did painting, shaving cream, and blue milk for our rain day.  Probably the most fun was washing the piggies in the water after they got shaving cream all over them. 


 We built snowmen another day and ate ice cream snowmen and milkshakes.  Weston wouldn't eat the snowmen treats, so he got a milkshake.  And he had to build a piggy snowman.

And since we never get snow around here, we had to make our own.  You can make a fun snow-like substance with conditioner and baking soda.  It really works pretty well. The kids had fun with it.  Weston had to put his pigs in the snow, of course.  Savannah played with polar bears in her snow.

I intended to do wind and ice days, but a couple of birthday parties got in the way... we just watched "Frozen" instead.  

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Star Wars party

Owen's birthday party was supposed to be back in December, but we had to postpone it due to sickness.  We picked a new day in January.  These were the original invitations, a cute idea found on Pinterest,  It extends like a light saber.  We sent out 12 invitations - Owen wanted more guests, but we had to have a limit!  Ten of his friends were able to come, so with our 5, we had 15 kids running around.  It was pretty crazy!  Alex got out the megaphone once...

Most of the party fun was running around with light sabers, hitting things and each other.  They also did a little bit of bowling and shooting nerf guns at the targets on the board below.  

Captured a little bit of the chaos:

Owen requested a storm trooper helmet cake and specifically this version.  He was really particular about what he wanted.  I did my best to put together a helmet.  

I forgot to take a picture of the foam light sabers, which were the most popular thing they got to take home.  I also made each of them a simple robe, but not many of them actually wanted to wear it.  The girls didn't want to wear the princess Leia buns either.  Oh well.  I think they liked the fruit snacks and popcorn.

It seems like everyone had a good time.  Owen had fun, so it was a success!

After the party, they discovered the LED balloons were pretty fun to play with in the dark.  I hadn't seen these kind of balloons before.  They were pretty cool.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Temple worthy priesthood holder

A couple of special things happened since Nathan turned 12 years old.  He received the Aaronic Priesthood, given through a blessing from Alex and our bishop (click on the link for some more information about the priesthood).  He is now a deacon in our church and can do things such as pass the sacrament.  Nathan was able to do that for the first time this past Sunday.  It was a special thing for me to witness Nathan having the Aaronic Priesthood conferred upon him by Alex.  I am thankful that Alex is a worthy priesthood holder.  And I am thankful that Nathan is worthy and willing to have the priesthood now.  I am excited to see him learn and grow in service to others.  

Another opportunity that comes with turning 12 is the ability to enter the temple and perform baptisms for the dead by proxy.  Alex and I were able to go with Nathan on his first temple trip with the youth this past weekend.  Nathan was able to do some family names, most of them from my dad's line.  He did one name of a great great great great grandfather from Alex's line.  Alex was able to perform the baptisms, and again it was a special thing to witness.  I hope that those that Nathan did baptisms for will accept those ordinances.  

Nathan is no stranger to the temple.  Although he had never entered the temple until now, he has visited the grounds of several temples.  We took him with us many times while Alex and I took turns doing temple work.  I couldn't find a picture from Houston, but he went with us there quite a few times.  The earliest picture I could find was from Sydney, Australia in 2005.  Look how much he has grown since then! 

Here are some other temple visits that I could find pictures of.  We also made several trips to Oklahoma City and to the Los Angeles Temple, since those have been the temples near where we lived.

I hope that Nathan and all of our kids develop a strong love for and desire to go to the temple often.  It's a very special place!

sharp shooter

Nathan made the most free throws in his school and moved on to the next level of the Elks hoop shoot, competing against 12 and 13 year olds from other schools.  They did 2 rounds - 10 shots and then another 15, combining the total.  Nathan made 6 of 10 on the first round - a little cold on that round.  On the second round, he made 12 of 15!  I was very impressed with his shooting.  It was fun to see Nathan participate in something that I also did as a child.  My memory of the details of my hoop shoot is faulty, but I remember moving to the next level.  I think I made maybe 7 of 10 in my competition.  And I remember being really nervous.  

Nathan seemed pretty confident, stepping up there and making 18 of 25.  He ended up getting 3rd place, with the 2nd place contestant making 19 and the winner making 20.  I'm very proud of him!

A few of his shots...

12 years old

Nathan had a friend birthday party this year, and he requested a no-theme party.  However, he wanted to start off his party playing soccer, so I had a hard time not going with a soccer theme.  I tried hard not to use a theme, but still ended up with some sports themed favors and such... :)  The water bottles had candy inside.  I did my first ever E-vite for a birthday party instead of making invitations.  It was easier, but I sort-of like making the invitations.  I think 12 years old may be the age where we turn over a new page in our parties.  

part of the E-vite... see, I couldn't stay away from a theme

Nathan wanted pizza, chips, and soda for dinner.  I made a triple layer cake, which turned out to be way too much.  I thought a big 12 year old needed a big cake!

He and his friends had fun playing foosball and our new arcade basketball game after we got back to our home after soccer.  Alex and I joined in on the soccer game for a while too - we had a lot of fun!

I love how Nathan sings to himself!

Nathan is finding out that the quantity of presents gets less as he gets older - maybe more gift cards and bigger items.  I made the OKC Thunder pillowcase as a little extra thing.  And he essentially picked out the Lego set and RC car.  However, he thought he was getting a smaller Lego set, but we surprised him with the bigger one.  We thought it would be funny to put a small girl Lego set inside a bigger box and see his reaction.  His real present was underneath the couch. I'd say he was pretty happy with it!

more wallpaper

We acquired a bunch more wallpaper from Christmas and birthdays - our walls are getting covered!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Happy New Year!!

We had quite a bit of sickness during December, with the stomach bug and colds.  We had to postpone Owen's birthday party, cancel our trip to Utah, and stayed at home on New Year's Eve.  Luckily, we still have fun together at home when we can't get out.  Here's Nathan and Jared ringing in the new year: 

And with that, I'm all caught up on blogging!  Yay!

Best of 2015

I somehow made it a tradition of making calendars each year, in which I have to pick some of my favorite pictures.  I guess these are the "best of" for us.  Some pictures duplicate because I included some pages from the silly calendar.

It's Christmas!!

On Christmas Eve, they get to open new PJ's to wear to bed that night.  The older ones know what to expect - they even saw me making them, so it was no surprise for them.  Weston, however...he was expecting to open something fun.  Not clothes.  He wanted "way-gos" (Legos).    

I feel bad for him, because he was so disappointed, but it was hilarious too.  We were all laughing so hard!  He wouldn't take pictures either - he was still so mad.  Right before bed I got him to put the PJ's on, so I did capture one smiling Weston in boring PJ's...

(Savannah was the only one who got cute store-bought PJ's.  I couldn't compete with the tutu Sofia PJ's.)  

We did our traditional reading the Christmas story and singing by candlelight.  Savannah even tried to sing, although she was sick.  I cut the video off just as she was about to cough.

Weston was missing for most of the singing, but he came back when we were ready for cupcakes.  I even caught the end of it, with Weston singing!

The kids actually slept until about 7:45 or 8:00 on Christmas morning.  They waited until I finally dragged out of bed at 8;30 for present opening.  (Alex and I only got about 5 hours of sleep.) The big present they're sitting in front of was a foosball table from Alex's parents.  They have had so much fun playing it!

I think Christmas gets more disappointing the older you get.  Nathan got more useful than fun things this year.  He said he didn't want any Legos, but after his brothers got them, he wished he had asked for some.  Nathan's big present was a really nice sleeping bag, which I'm sure he'll appreciate later, but it's not very fun.  

Jared's big present was a drone, which is cool, but it also wasn't ready for flying.  We needed batteries. registration to fly, and it can only be flown in certain places.  Alex took him to a park later the next week.  He had some Legos to work on in the meantime.  

The younger 3 seemed pretty happy with their presents.  Owen is the best present opener, always so excited about his presents.  He got several Lego sets.  Weston also got lots of Legos.  He was only interested in opening the packages that sounded like Legos when he shook it.  Savannah's big present was a bike.  She also got a really cute baby doll crib from Alex's parents.  They restored an old crib that I think used to be Alex's mom's.

And this is what we bought on behalf of my parents (they just sent money for us to use) - everyone loves this too!  Nathan is hard to beat.  This game takes up most of one room, but at least it folds when not in use and it's been really fun.  

I also had to document our Christmas brunch.  I made crepes for the first time, with blueberry sauce.  So yummy!

Friday, January 1, 2016

December birthdays

I have a new niece, Hazel, born on the 15th.  This is Ashley's new baby girl, her fourth child.  I made this polka dot blanket for her, which didn't turn out great, but she makes it beautiful.  I haven't met her yet, but I love her already!

Owen shares a birthday with Hazel's brother Jaden (who turned 11).  Owen is 7 now.  We had a friend party planned for him, but had to postpone it because of a stomach bug going through our family.  Stay tuned for those pictures later.  Owen was very excited about his new Legos and light saber.  (We all enjoyed watching the new Star Wars movie after Christmas).

I hadn't planned on a big cake on his actual birthday, but luckily a friend brought this one over since we didn't do another party yet.  

Owen was also very excited about getting long underwear.  He desperately wanted some when Nathan and Jared got theirs for their backpacking trip.  He got some for his birthday!

Savannah's birthday is just a few days after Owen's.  Her presents ended up being bigger than her!

It took us a while to put this plastic bed together...she was patient, yet excited to put her babies in there.  Weston took over the manger set, as you can see the piggy is visiting the baby Jesus!  We got Savannah her own white board and markers, because she really loves drawing.  She draws on any paper around, the chore charts on the fridge, the walls... I thought she might like her own coloring board.  And she seems to like it!  She loves being able to erase what she has done and start a new picture.  We'll see how long the markers last though.  She's not good about putting the caps back on them.  

Savannah wanted a Dora cake - I cheated and used part of the huge cake that Owen got for his birthday.  I also just printed out a picture for the top.  She didn't seem to mind.  She did take a hard fall off her chair right on her head just before we got ready to do the cake.  (She was trying to put on her new dress up heels and tumbled right off the chair.)  She was okay, but needed a few extra minutes to recover.  

I did make some fresh cupcakes too for her birthday.  She wanted one of those with the pink frosting and sprinkles.  I'm not surprised.  She's a girly girl!